Tele vs. Randonee

12:09 a.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

Ok-my family is looking to do some ski touring next winter.  There is a small hut system about an hour from our house.  Other than the difference in styles is one system more adaptable to ski touring than the other.  We are not big down hill skiers but want to be able to enjoy more of the fruit of our labors after a long ski. 

7:39 a.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
102 reviewer rep
2,975 forum posts
Re: Tele vs. Rondonee

I am a big fan of Tele.  I can ski down practically anything, except ice, or really steep slopes (the binding catches the slope).  I have done trips with folks using both types of equipment, and found the equipment didn’t make any difference in speed among the capable skiers, and that lack of skill was still a big issue for those having trouble, regardless of equipment.  Rondonee is heavy; someone has to drag those boots up.  Also it is a more complex binding system, thus more susceptible to breakage, and the need to carry more repair parts and tools.  Keep in mind no matter what equipment you do get, it is not like you will be doing anything particularly ambitious on skis while carrying a pack.  Gozo runs while carrying a big load is shure to result in a very hard fall on your face, as you pack tackles you from behind.  Pack or not, it is a good idea to ski conservatively in the backcountry anyway, since you will be a day or more from the nearest doctor capable of attending a serious injury.  Last note: I just saw the Tenth Mountain Division practicing at Mammoth this February - they were on tele gear.


7:40 p.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts
Re: Tele vs. Rondonee

I'm no expert, but from what I know, Tele takes a lot more skill than Randonee gear.  You need to separate tele from ski touring gear though. I'm using light touring gear in my picture-Voile 3 pin cable bindings on Voile release kits on Atomic Rainier skis. This is the least expensive way to go I know of and have a release binding.  You can see their stuff at  I called and asked a few questions and they were very helpful. Regardless of what you pick, don't forget climbing skins.  I had waxless skis and still used skins. Mine were from BD, but other companies make them.

Randonee or AT (Alpine Touring gear like Dynafit) is actually lighter than some Tele bindings, but the boots are about the same-most Tele boots look like downhill ski boots-big rigid boots with a duckbill if 3 pin style or a system boot that fits a particular binding like the Black Diamond.  I had a pair of Garmont Excursions-a lightweight plastic boot with a removeable liner, like a climbing boot, but most touring boots are a synthetic of some kind that look like a leather boot.

If you can downhill ski, you might like the AT gear better because once you lock down the heel, you are downhill skiing so the feel should be similar.  No personal experience though, so ask someone with an AT setup.

For everything you might want to know about tele gear, visit  It is pretty much the best website dedicated to telemark skiing.  I picked my gear after asking a lot of questions there. Most of the members are relatively friendly to newbies, although expect some snarky answers if you bring up AT.

12:42 p.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
2,829 reviewer rep
922 forum posts
Re: Tele vs. Rondonee

Both Randonee and heavy Tele gear are best adapted to "up and down" skiing -- climb a big hill using skins, then ski down it doing nice turns. If your route involves long approaches or rolling terrain, and especially if your focus isn't on total control (and hopefully elegance) on the downhills, then you should consider some version of mountain touring skis. In Norway I always use these for hut-to-hut touring, often with side trips to summits, and save the heavy stuff for steeper ascents and descents. For the huts, I use the Fisher S-Bound Rebounds with NNN-BC bindings and Alpina NNN-BC boots -- the skis are wide and curvy enough and the boots supportive enough to make nice turns in good snow, but they still tour nicely for getting from one hut to the next -- especially the boot/binding combo, which allows you to tour much more naturally than any of the heavy duty rigs. You can also save a bunch of money over a full-on tele or randonee rig.

8:26 p.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
60 reviewer rep
11 forum posts
Re: Tele vs. Rondonee

Garth -

There are still too many unknowns to really help you yet.  BigRed addresses the issue of terrain.  Where is the hut system?  What's the goal - horizontal days in the wilderness or vertical days with great powder skiing?  And that's not always an either / or question - the answer can certainly be "Yes!"

What's the family make up?  Young kids?  Really athletic?

What's the budget? (in rough terms)  Will you be scrounging yard sales in September?  Or are you gonna plunk the Black Card down at checkout on  Is there any gear already in play, like skis or boots?

In a very general sense, alpine touring gear now surpasses telemark gear in nearly every aspect of the sport.  It can be much lighter (lightest compared to lightest), climbs much more efficiently, offers fully releasable toes and heals, and provides more stability on the way down.  But this doesn't mean it's right for you.  It probably is, but more needs to be shared.


9:25 p.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
29 forum posts
Re: Tele vs. Rondonee

Thanks guys.  Your responses have helped.  

April 27, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: The Speed Of Light Newer: Hiker falls at Yosemiite..
All forums: Older: Black Diamond / Bibler Fitzroy Tent: Twistlock pole ties feels inconvenient? Newer: WTB: Bibler Tempest Ground Cloth